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To Waive or Not to Waive: Vaccine Patent Rights

March 15, 2022 at 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm EDT

About the Program

It has long been clear that the successful distribution of effective vaccines worldwide is our best hope for ending the Covid-19 pandemic. The extremely effective vaccines were mostly developed through the collaboration of for-profit pharmaceutical companies and the governments of several rich nations. By now, most well-off industrialized states have inoculated substantial percentages of their populations, but dozens of poorer countries have woefully inadequate supplies of vaccines and, without some kind of outside assistance, cannot come close to reaching the kind of numbers that will put an end to the disease. In the meantime, the pandemic is out of control in much of the world and, as a result, persists in even the most affluent countries as well.

While the US and other governments have donated over 1 billion doses to countries in crisis, billions more are still needed. Many organizations advocating for fairer distribution of health care have argued for the waiver of patent rights to the vaccines so that poor countries could begin to manufacture them on their own. Nonetheless, adhering to a long-standing tradition that protects the intellectual property rights of companies that develop new medical technologies, the US and other nations have so far been reluctant to share the scientific know-how to make this possible. Further, even if the patent rights were waived, poorer countries would likely need additional assistance in building the manufacturing infrastructure to satisfy the demand.

The Robert Zicklin Center for Corporate Integrity at Baruch College is pleased to host an online conversation with Dr. Arthur Caplan, one of the world’s leading medical ethicists, to discuss how the rich countries of the world should respond to the vaccine shortfall around the world from both an ethical and practical point of view. Dr. Caplan will be interviewed by Baruch College Management Professor Alex Mills who will bring his expertise in operations and supply chains into the discussion as well.


ARTHUR CAPLAN, PhD, Drs. William F. and Virginia Connolly Mitty Professor of Bioethics, Department of Population Health

Dr. Caplan is currently the Drs. William F. and Virginia Connolly Mitty Professor and founding head of the Division of Medical Ethics at NYU Grossman School of Medicine in New York City. Prior to coming to NYU, Dr. Caplan was the Sidney D. Caplan Professor of Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine in Philadelphia, where he created the Center for Bioethics and the Department of Medical Ethics. He has also taught at the University of Minnesota, where he founded the Center for Biomedical Ethics; the University of Pittsburgh; and Columbia University. He received his PhD from Columbia University.

Dr. Caplan has served since 2015 as a chair of the Compassionate Use Advisory Committees (CompAC), independent groups of internationally recognized medical experts, bioethicists, and patient representatives that advise Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen Pharmaceuticals on requests for compassionate use of its investigational medicines.

Dr. Caplan is a regular commentator on bioethics and health care issues for WebMD/Medscape, WGBH radio in Boston, WOR radio in New York City, and CNN. He appears frequently as a guest and commentator on various other national and international media outlets. He is a member of the WHO advisory committee on COVID-19, ethics, and experimental drugs/vaccines, and he helped set policy for WIRB/WCG for research studies. He was an adviser to Moderna, Inc., and he serves on the NCAA COVID-19 Medical Advisory Group. 

Dr. Caplan holds seven honorary degrees from colleges and medical schools. To read more, please click here.

ALEX MILLS, Associate Professor of Operations Management and Academic Director of the Executive MBA in Healthcare Administration

Professor Mills studies operations management with a focus on healthcare services. His research focuses on healthcare system response to disruptions, demand management, allocation of healthcare provider resources, and economic incentives in healthcare. He makes use of a wide range of methodology, including stochastic modeling, optimization, and simulation. His research has been published in Manufacturing & Service Operations ManagementOperations Research, and Production and Operations Management. Professor Mills also serves as an Associate Editor at Manufacturing & Service Operations Management and Health Care Management Science.

Professor Mills teaches courses in operations management and business analytics, including process analysis, supply chain management, and healthcare analytics. He currently serves as the Area Coordinator for Operations Management in the Loomba Department of Management.

Prior to his appointment to the Zicklin faculty, Professor Mills was a faculty member at the Indiana University Kelley School of Business.


12:30 pm – Moderated Discussion
1:45 pm – Q&A


To register and receive Zoom details, please click here


March 15, 2022
12:30 pm - 2:00 pm EDT




Robert Zicklin Center for Corporate Integrity